My grandmother worked at a General Motors metal fabrication plant, raised five daughters, had the most wonderful dinner on the table each night, looked absolutely beautiful at all times, and never once complained of burnout! She might have had a nightly cocktail or two, but no burnout!
But, that was back when kids walked to school, uphill, both ways. I get it. Nowadays, we have ‘burnout’. Well, American’s have burnout. I’m pretty sure that lady in Ethiopia walking ten miles a day to get fresh water for her kids to survive probably doesn’t get the concept either!
As leaders, we have to be concerned about burnout because we don’t want these precious snowflakes to crumble under the weight of having to work a full forty hours a week, for 48 weeks or so a year. As you can tell, I’m very concerned about recruiter burnout! It’s a real problem in our industry.
Okay, I joke a bit. I was raised and taught how to be a recruiter by an entrepreneurial baby boomer female who would have eaten her young if it would have made one more placement! Burnout was not something I was led to believe was an option for my career. But, I know it’s a problem we face in the industry.
Here are five things I recommend to leaders in helping them solve Recruiter Burnout:
- Help them find success. You know who’s not burned out? The person who is flat out killing it. Your best. Your top performers. People get ‘burned out’ when failure seems to be knocking at their door each day. In the corporate environment, I usually had positions that could fill themselves, and ones that were a major struggle. I would move recruiters around to various specialties knowing the recruiters working hard to fill roles would eventually get burned out. Sometimes you just need to make ten easy hires in a week!
- Eliminate unnecessary stress. Every organization has asshole hiring managers. Your role as a leader is to make sure those assholes, aren’t assholes to your recruiters. You must become the no asshole wall between your recruiters and these asshole hiring managers.
- Find their purpose. Not necessarily organizationally, but individually. I worked for a hospital. We had this great purpose to save lives! But when you’re hiring a cafeteria worker you really aren’t saving lives. So, organizationally you can have the best mission in the world, but if you can’t find your own personal mission, you’re in trouble.
- Move around. Most recruiters sit at a desk. All day. Every day. I mandated my recruiting teams get out each day and see their hiring managers face to face, become part of the business. Burnout happens when you look in the mirror and go, can I do this another ten years, twenty years, the rest of my life!? And, the ‘this’ you believe you’re talking about is ‘sitting at this desk, filling openings’. That isn’t the job of recruiting, and you need to remind your folks of this each day.
- Find an outlet outside of recruiting. Different from purpose, this is something they physically do to relieve stress, unwind, find enjoyable. We spend about 25% of our waking hours working each week. Another 25% sleeping. It’s so easy to blow the other 50%, and that makes that work 25% seem like that’s all we do. Help and encourage your recruiters to have a life outside of work.
Sometimes people will tell you they’re burned out when in reality they’ve just reached their organizational life expectancy. That is different. When a recruiter leaves you, because of burnout, and goes and works another job as a recruiter, that’s not burnout. That’s ‘I just can stand your crap any longer’.
We love to say recruiting has a high burnout when in reality recruiting has a high failure rate. It’s much easier to say ‘I’m burned out’ instead of “I just can’t take the failure any longer”. As leaders, we can help with the failure part.
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.